GBI: Advancing Sustainable Data Centers


Jun 13, 2024 - Jun 13, 2024

The National Conference Center :
18980 Upper Belmont Pl
Leesburg, VA 20176

GBI's Advancing Sustainable Data Centers Seminar will bring together data center designers, owners, and operators to share innovative strategies to improve the sustainability and resilience of data centers during a time of unprecedented demand. Attendees will hear from industry leaders who are optimizing energy and water efficiency and implementing creative solutions for decarbonization. This must-attend, collaborative event will feature case studies, how-tos, and plenty of networking opportunities.

The National Conference Center 

18980 Upper Belmont Pl, Leesburg, VA 20176


9:00-9:20am – Breakfast & Networking

9:20-9:30am – Opening Remarks

Vicki Worden, President & CEO, Green Building Initiative

9:30-10:10am – Keynote Address

Buddy Rizer, Executive Director of Economic Development, Loudoun County, VA

10:10-10:35am – Your Data Center's Data: Where is it? And what does it tell you about sustainability?

Garrett Helmer, Chief Revenue Officer, Cohesion

Data Centers produce a lot of data, and we're not talking about what's inside the racks. We're talking about physical access, occupancy, energy utilization, air quality, temperature, etc. How do you bring it all together easily, and how can it tell a sustainability story?

10:35-10:55am – Networking Break

10:55-11:25am Green Bytes: Advancing Energy Efficiency in Next-Generation Data Centers

John Khazraee, CEO, InnovateSphere Consulting

Discover the essential principles that drive eco-friendly operations in sustainable data centers, from harnessing renewable energy to implementing cutting-edge techniques and methods. Uncover how these principles not only reduce environmental impact but also pave the way for unprecedented efficiency gains.

Attendees will be able to examine the difficulties, strategies used, and advantages experienced by companies that have implemented sustainable methods, offering practical guidance for incorporating similar approaches into their own activities. Explore how these innovations revolutionize data center sustainability, leading to significant reductions in carbon emissions and enhanced operational resilience.

11:25am-12:05pm – Using A Sustainability Index To Create a Green Baseline For Your New Data Center

Karen Petersburg, Vice President of Development and Construction, PowerHouse Data Centers

Elizabeth Larsen, Senior Sustainability Engineer, Bala Consulting Engineers

The market need for a standardized sustainability assessment tool for new data center builds is significant and growing. This is driven by several key factors, including: environmental concerns, regulatory compliance, corporate sustainability goals, operational efficiency, and technological advancements. With these factors converging, best practices are emerging to measure and standardize environmental considerations with new data center construction. Developed by Elizabeth Larsen (Senior Sustainability Engineer for Bala Consulting Engineers) and adapted to mission critical projects by Larsen and Karen Petersburg (Vice President of Data Center Development and Construction for PowerHouse Data Centers), the Bala Sustainability Index represents a new way to set baseline measurements for data center aspects such as carbon offsets, carbon footprint, PUE, and WUE. In this presentation, Larsen and Petersburg will walk the audience through the ins and outs of the index, and how it can be used toward lifecycle assessments for new data center construction projects, as well as how it can be applied to GBI’s Journey To Net Zero program. As an example, the presentation will cover a real world case study, using the index’s baselines to evaluate the design of a new hyperscale facility located in Reno, Nevada.  

12:05-12:20pm – Green Globes for Data Centers

Megan Baker, Vice President of Engagement, Green Building Initiative

12:20-1:05pm – Networking Lunch

1:05-1:35pm – The Sustainable Digital Shift: Designing Data Centers for the AI-powered Future

Phill Lawson-Shanks, Chief Innovation & Technology Officer, Aligned Data Centers

The imperative for sustainable data centers is stronger than ever. Aligned Data Centers has set ambitious goals and demonstrated leadership in designing, constructing, and operating high performing data centers since its inception. The company is continually evaluating and implementing new sustainability strategies into its growing portfolio, including lower carbon construction, highly-efficient cooling for higher densities, and alternative power options. Aligned has implemented a suite of technology that enables better tracking and informs an overall understanding of each facility’s environmental impact. The company is committed to transparency and accountability, pursuing GBI’s Green Globes certification for new construction projects nationwide. Achieving Green Globes certification has allowed Aligned to demonstrate its achievements to clients, community members, and other key stakeholders. Attendees will learn how Aligned is removing barriers and implementing innovative strategies to improve portfolio performance with recent case studies.

1:35-2:20pm – Decarbonizing Data Centers: An Industry Up to the Challenge

J.D. Lambert, Sustainable Design Leader – Mission Critical, Associate AIA, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, Fitwel Ambassador, RELi AP, HKS, Inc.

Emily Sanders, Sustainability and ESG Consultant, Jacobs

Jeff Sprau, CEO, Legence

Data centers face a critical challenge: meet the ever-growing demand for data while reducing their construction and operational carbon footprint. It is estimated that the U.S. data center footprint will require 35 gigawatts of power by 2030, representing more than two times the 17 GW total in 2022. By adopting deliberate design strategies and innovative technologies, data centers can work collectively to decarbonize the industry and become leaders for other resource intensive industries. Panelists will share strategies for performing whole building life-cycle assessments using a cradle-to-cradle system boundary for data center design and construction, achieving hourly time-matched clean energy, and leverage AI solutions to monitor consumption real-time.

2:20-2:30pm – Closing Remarks

Jack Bidlack, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Information and Engineering Technologies, Northern Virginia Technical College

Anna Figueroa, DCO Technician I, CoreSite

2:30-3:00pm – Networking

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